One of the most unique and interesting aspects of the BIG TEL AVIV DERBY is the fact that the two involved football clubs actually occupy the same athletic stadium.
Of course, ground sharing is not the way it usually works with the world’s great derby fixtures. As is the case in the always-exciting, intra-city football matches the blog likes to follow. Glasgow, Vienna, Liverpool, Hamburg or, perhaps, Madrid — normally, each team any given cross-town rivalry across the globe has a separate facility to call home. Not so, however, in the modern Israeli city of Tel Aviv.
In fact, the BLOOMFIELD STADIUM, site of the great Derby In The Sand featured at the blog here this weekend, is home ground for no less than three teams in the top flight of Israeli professional football.
Aside from FC HAPOEL TEL AVIV and FC MACCABI TEL AVIV, the Bloomfield Stadium also plays host to Ligat ha’Al club FC BNEI YEHUDA TEL AVIV, as well.
The moniker “Big Tel Aviv Derby” was derived to separate intra-city contests involving the two most successful clubs in the history of Israeli football from the all-Tel Aviv matches involving FC Bnei Yehuda, whose games involving the other two teams are known as the “Little Tel Aviv Derby.”
The Bloomfield Stadium was originally constructed and completed in 1962 to serve as the home of FC Hapoel Tel Aviv. Located in the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Jaffa, the Bloomfield facility was built on the same ground where the old BASA STADIUM once stood. In December of 1962, the stadium hosted its very first international match with the arrival of Dutch club FC Twente Enschede for a friendly with FC Hapoel Tel Aviv.
The official capacity for the Bloomfield Stadium, which is owned by the Tel Aviv Municipality, is listed as 15,700.
The park has played host to a number of Israeli professional football clubs throughout the years including both FC Beitar Tel Aviv and FC Shimshon Tel Aviv, who merged in 2000; now known as FC Beitar Shimshon Tel Aviv and competing in the Israeli second division, the club now contest their home matches at the smaller Hatikva Neighborhood Stadium (capacity 6,500) in the city.
FC Maccabi Jaffa also spent time as a tenant at the Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv before closing up shop in 2000.
Those who are more interested in the history of the construction and financing of the Bloomfield Stadium might try — “IN THE STANDS AT TEL AVIV’s BLOOMFIELD STADIUM” — which was published previously at the blog back in late November.
FC Maccabi Tel Aviv, the traditional arch-enemy of FC Hapoel Tel Aviv, first arrived to share ground at the Bloomfield Stadium after leaving the HaMaccabi Stadium in the late 1960s; following a fifteen year absence beginning in 1985, the Yellows returned after staging its home matches at the National Stadium in Ramat Gan, an eastern suburb of Tel Aviv.
FC Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv, who have been around since 1936, had contested home games for most of their existance at the Hatikva Neighborhood Stadium but moved to the Bloomfield Stadium in 2004.
Outfitted in the traditional color of yellow, FC Maccabi Tel Aviv plays the ball into the penalty area during last April’s Ligat ha’Al match against visiting FC Beitar Jerusalem — the club who won their first-ever Israeli league championship following the 1986-87 season after being forced, because of crowd-related issues, to stage all of their home matches in Tel Aviv that year — at the multi-tenant Bloomfield Stadium.